California State University, San Bernardino’s Office of Community Engagement (OCE) has organized several events throughout the month of April for the campus community to celebrate National Volunteer Month.

This year’s events include:

  • “Volunteer Fair” – Tuesday, April 16, from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. along Coyote Walk
  • “Girls Leading Girls: Blooming into the Future” – Saturday, April 20, from 9:15 a.m.-2:15 p.m. in the Obershaw Dining Room in the Alumni Center.

“Health Howl,” which took place on April 9, marked the start of activities on campus for the month.

The purpose of the Volunteer Fair on Tuesday is to assist CSUSB students in identifying meaningful volunteer service opportunities, ranging from short-term projects to in-depth service-learning internships. The fair also aims to help students develop a better understanding of the nonprofits that serve the Inland Empire region, including their roles in providing services to the underserved and disadvantaged.

A student works on a mural at Option House Domestic Violence Shelter.
A student works on a mural at Option House Domestic Violence Shelter. 

Additional participants at the fair will include the San Bernardino County Registrar of Voters ballot mobile, encouraging students to register to vote in the upcoming election. And the San Bernardino City Animal Shelter will be there with some furry friends available for adoption along with information on how to volunteer with them.

OCE will also be using the Charity Miles iPhone and Android app as a tool for raising funds and awareness for charity as part of their activities. The charity selected this year to receive donated funds is Feeding America. At the end of the spring semester, OCE will award a special prize to the three top CSUSB individuals who log the most miles. Instructions on how to join are available on the office’s Instagram account.

National Volunteer Month is only one of the OCE’s community engagement set of events. Their largest annual campus-wide volunteer event occurs two months prior, in February: Coyote Cares Day. In 2024, for example, over 50 students, 60 alumni and about 20 staff joined forces to offer volunteer service and leave their paw print in the community and on campus. The current value of a volunteer hour in California is $31.80, per the blog, and the university’s efforts this year contributed the equivalent of over $8,000 to the community.

LaTeara Barnes, an alumna of the university who is a prevention and outreach supervisor at Option House Domestic Violence Shelter, hosted CSUSB Master of Social Work students to begin a mural at their facility this year.

“This is my second year hosting the Coyote Care Day volunteers, and every year it gets better,” she said. “As an alumna, I’m honored to have students at our agency contributing to the magic that we do. Even in a few hours once a year, their time and contributions are much appreciated.”

The students helped realize a long-held dream through their efforts, and Barnes was grateful. “The students did the hardest part, and without them, I’m unsure if we could have completed it. We are so thankful to them. We look forward to the years to come.”

OCE’s first set of guidelines for National Volunteer Month, however, are able to be practiced by everyone any time of the year:

  • Thank a volunteer.
  • Volunteer! Many volunteers will tell you it is a rewarding experience.
  • Do you have a special talent or skill that may benefit a charity or organization? Offer your services or ask how you can be of help.

OCE also encourages people to use #NationalVolunteerMonth to share on social media in April and spread the word.

Visit the CSUSB Office of Community Engagement website for more information.